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Illicit drug use and HIV treatment outcomes in a US cohort

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of illicit drug use and the impact on HIV treatment. DESIGN: Multivariable regression of cross-sectional data from 1163 HIV-infected and 294 controls from the Study of Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM). METHODS: An analysis of (1) prevalence of specific illicit drug use (ever, current), (2) being on HAART among those with an indication and (3) current HIV RNA and CD4 cell count among HAART users. RESULTS: Median age was 42 years, approximately 50% were non-Caucasian and 33% were women. Eighty-six percent of HIV-infected and 67% of controls reported ever using illicit drugs (P < 0.0001); 28% of HIV-infected and 16% of controls reported current use (P = 0.0001). In adjusted models, current cocaine use and past heroin use were associated with not currently being on HAART. Among HAART users, those reporting past heroin use were as likely to have an undetectable HIV viral load as those who had never used heroin. Current and past cocaine use and current heroin use was associated with lower odds of undetectable HIV RNA. Past amphetamine use was associated with having an undetectable HIV. Similar results were seen for CD4 lymphocyte counts. CONCLUSION: Illicit drug use in the US is common, although far fewer report current use than past use. Among HIV-infected patients, understanding of the type of illicit drugs used and whether drug use was in the past or ongoing is important, because of their differential effects on HIV treatment outcomes.

Authors: Cofrancesco J Jr; Scherzer R; Tien PC; Gibert CL; Southwell H; Sidney S; Dobs A; Grunfeld C

AIDS. 2008 Jan 30;22(3):357-65.

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